by Emily Williams
Learning a foreign language is often one of those things which sits on a bucket list, or gets tagged onto New Year’s Resolutions, and many of us try, put in a few hours, and then fail to keep it up as we lose interest or life gets in the way. There’s no shame in that. Learning a language can be hard, and requires a lot of commitment, but despite the difficulties, there are some things you can do to really boost your learning.
One of the best ways to learn a language is to speak it regularly, and to do that, you really need somebody who also speaks it, who can converse with you, challenge you, and help you out when you get stuck. With the connectivity the internet brings, there are so many opportunities to connect with people online, so you should have no problem finding someone who speaks Spanish – or any other language – either in a paid capacity or as a casual acquaintance. Learning one-on-one is often less distracting and more productive than learning in a group, and allows you to ask plenty of questions.
This is certainly easier said than done. None of us like to feel inadequate, and being unable to communicate isn’t a comfortable feeling. It’s easier to not try than to put ourselves forwards, particularly around others who may spot errors. However, it’s really important to overcome this, and just speak Spanish as much as possible, as frequently as possible, even if you have to substitute in some English words which you don’t know the Spanish term for yet. Be proud of your attempts, not ashamed when they aren’t perfect.
Although writing and listening exercises are essential to learning, it’s also really important to build up your skills by speaking the words and phrases aloud. Your ear will start tuning into the rhythm of the language and you will more easily spot mistakes because you will begin to recognize how things should sound. If you can speak to a native speaker, get them to correct your pronunciation, and if not, look at online resources such as videos to get yourself more in tune with the language.
Perhaps this sounds obvious, but many language courses don’t focus on teaching the most commonly used terms, and it can be overwhelming when you feel like there’s endless vocabulary to memorize. You may not get to grips with the accuracy of the language as quickly as you’d like with this method, but you will be able to communicate and understand effectively, and this will encourage you to improve yourself and expand your learning.
If you have the opportunity, isolate yourself from people who speak English and surround yourself with those who only speak Spanish. This will force you to find ways to communicate, even if you communicate with limited accuracy. It will prevent you making excuses or shying away from the challenge, and will give your brain a burst of intense learning as it strives to acclimatise to the new conditions.
Many of these tips apply to any language you want to learn, so try them out when you next feel you want to broaden your skill set. There’s no such thing as overnight learning, of course, and there aren’t really any shortcuts, but – like learning any new skill – being taught in the right way makes an enormous difference to your experience. Remember that very few people are “naturals” when it comes to new languages, so just put your best effort in, and keep working on improving your abilities.
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A passionate marketing specialist at PhDKingdom.com, Emily Williams loves engaging with her readers as they seek out marketing information related to their start-ups, brand development and personal growth. After more than five years of experience, she still enjoys supporting driven people in achieving online success.
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